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Are We Born Racist?: New Insights from Neuroscience and by Jason Marsh, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Visit Amazon's Jeremy

By Jason Marsh, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Visit Amazon's Jeremy Adam Smith Page, search results, Learn about Author Central, Jeremy Adam Smith,

The place do our prejudices come from? Why are a few humans extra biased than others? Is it attainable for people, and society as a complete, to actually defeat prejudice? In those pages, major scientists, psychologists, educators, activists, and so forth supply solutions, drawing from new clinical discoveries that make clear why and the way our brains shape prejudices, how racism hurts our future health, steps we will take to mitigate prejudiced instincts, and what a post-prejudice society may really glance like.

Bringing a various diversity of disciplines into dialog for the 1st time, Are We Born Racist? bargains a simple assessment of the hot technological know-how of prejudice, and showcases the considerable functional, research-based steps that may be taken in all parts of our lives to beat prejudice.

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Additional resources for Are We Born Racist?: New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology

Sample text

And it’s here that Watson went so far astray. He traced these differences to genetics, when research shows that’s just not true. They’re really the products of prejudice. Minding the gap Watson’s insinuations about the “inherently gloomy” prospects of Africans (and those of African descent) rest on two faulty assumptions. The first assumption is that intellectual ability, as surely as our hair color or the shape of our nose, is fixed and innate. The second is that our tools for measuring this ability—such as IQ tests or standardized exams—are faithful gauges of it, like thermometers are for temperature.

Steele and his colleagues have proposed that these situations activate “stereotype threat,” whereby concern about being evaluated against, or perhaps even confirming, a negative stereotype makes people anxious and disrupts their ability to concentrate. Lift this threat and performance differences disappear. This research suggests that stereotypes and prejudice can, in subtle but powerful ways, affect the data that is then used as “evidence” for the stereotypes’ very existence. In other words, people such as James Watson point to poor test scores to affirm their own prejudices against African Americans.

These knee-jerk reactions do not require conscious bigotry, though they are worsened by it. In my own lab, for example, we dug up dozens of images of societal groups that were identifiable in an instant: people with disabilities, older people, homeless people, drug addicts, rich businessmen, and American Olympic athletes. We asked research participants to tell us what emotions these images evoked in them; as we predicted, they reported feeling pity (toward the disabled and elderly), disgust (the homeless and drug addicts), envy (businessmen), and pride (athletes).

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